Must be nice to have sixteen million dollars to invest in political giving.
Houston home builder Bob Perry poured $16 million into state and federal races during the recent election cycle, apparently making him the biggest individual political contributor in the country for 2005-06, a money-tracking group reported Tuesday.
A legislator from San Antonio hopes the report will boost his proposal to place limits on big donors, but similar efforts have failed in the past.
Perry has been a leading political donor in Texas for several years, but the $6.7 million he gave to state candidates, mostly Republicans, and political action committees over the past two years was a 44 percent increase over 2003-04, according to Texans for Public Justice.
Additionally, he put $9.3 million into federal elections, mostly through conservative groups that bought ads attacking Democratic congressional candidates throughout the country, TPJ reported, citing Congressional Quarterly's PoliticalMoneyLine.
Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, has prefiled HB111 for the legislative session, which convenes in January, to limit total political contributions by one individual in state races to $100,000 per election cycle.
Villarreal sponsored a similar bill in 2005, but it died in a House subcommittee.
"I think there is more public clamor for change," he said, noting that another mega-contributor, San Antonio businessman James Leininger, a leading advocate of spending tax dollars on private school vouchers, also received much attention this year for large political donations to legislative candidates.
Under Villarreal's bill, a person could give the entire $100,000 to a single candidate or committee but would be unable to donate to anyone else.